What are the best methods for cleaning fibre optic termini?

Aerospace and industry experts have worked together for a number of years to identify the best solution for fibre optic cleaning. As a result they are both agreed that optimum cleaning of fibre optic terminus end faces is best achieved using a ‘wet/‘dry’ cleaning process.

What does this mean?

A number of elements affect cleanliness of the end faces of fibre optic termini, including:

  • Static

Causes particles to migrate to the core of the optical fibre at the termini end face

  • Liquid contamination

Fuel, oils (natural (human) and synthetic), etc

  • Dry contamination

Fine dust or very fine sand (silica), etc

  • Debris

Metallic particles, loose skin, particulate, etc

  • Liquid residue

Use of hygroscopic cleaning fluids, such as IsoPropyl Alcohol (IPA) can leave a residue on the termini end face. Any fluid remaining in the contact cavity or alignment sleeve can migrate back onto the terminus end face causing further contamination. This residue can build up over a period of time into a hard layer that is very difficult to remove.

Each of the above contaminants either singly, or combined will reduce the transmitted light in an optical fibre, and if not dealt with can cause permanent damage to the fibre optic core necessitating re-polishing or, in the worst case, replacement of the fibre optic interconnect.

Using a ‘wet/dry’ method with a fast evaporating, static dissipating, non-hygroscopic cleaning solution such as the Sticklers® Fibre Optic Splice and Connector Cleaner allows the end face of the fibre optic termini to be cleaned efficiently and safely without any worries of introducing scratches on the termini end face.

The use of a fast evaporating liquid that has static dispersion qualities, such as the Sticklers® Fibre Optic Splice and Connector Cleaner with the Sticklers® CleanStixx™, for the wet process removes any static build up on the contact end face, whilst washing any particles, debris or liquids off the termini end face. These particles and debris are collected by the CleanStixx™ unique fibres. Using a clean Sticklers® CleanStixx™ for the ‘dry’ process absorbs any residual cleaning fluid from the end face of the terminus and edges of the cavity and alignment sleeve leaving the termini end face perfectly clean and cavities dry.